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Avatar: Collector's Edition
BLU-RAY disk
5 years ago By: Chris Bumbray
Avatar: Collector's Edition order download
Director:
James Cameron

Actors:
Sam Worthington
Zoe Saldana
Stephen Lang
Sigourney Weaver

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A paralyzed Marine, Jake Scully (Sam Worthington), is given the chance to walk again when he's recruited for a top-secret program involving the exploitation of an alien planet. Scully's assignment is to infiltrate the planet's indigenous population, called the Navi, through the use of a lab-grown, Navi body, which he will be able to control with his mind. After several months living among the Navi, Scully's sympathies begin to shift, especially after he falls in love with a beautiful Navi warrior (Zoe Saldana).
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If only I knew then what I know now! That was what I was thinking upon re-reading my AVATAR review, which was posted about a week before the film went into wide release. Up to then, the buzz had actually been fairly negative, with most expecting this to be trounced by SHERLOCK HOLMES- and the so-so trailers made it seem like AVATAR could potentially be a flop. I was lucky enough to see it at an early press screening, and I was somewhat underwhelmed. Visually, it was stunning, and the 3D- a gimmick I loathe, actually worked beautifully for this film, and made me re-examine my attitude toward the technique. I also loved the way Cameron made Pandora come alive, and any reservations I had about the look of the Navi disappeared within moments.

However, the storyline struck me as completely unoriginal, and it felt like a retread of DANCES WITH WOLVES/ A MAN CALLED HORSE/ THE LAST SAMURAI. I also didn't care for the two-dimensional villains and Sam Worthington's bland performance in the lead- although Zoe Saldana was incredible as the love interest/heroine.

That said, I REALLY underestimated the film in my original review. Having seen it film again, I stand by my criticism of the storyline/villains, and Worthington, but I think the majesty of Pandora and the Navi' makes up for these shortcomings somewhat. One thing that helps is that this blu-ray offers a couple longer cuts of the film. One is the ďdirectorís cutĒ that hit theaters this summer and runs about eight minutes longer, while the second is sixteen minutes longer. James Cameron loves his directorís cut, and while neither significantly changes the film, like the DC of THE ABYSS did, the extended versions are still VERY worthwhile. The most intriguing addition is a new prologue set on Earth, where we get to see first-hand what a shithole itís turned into, making Scullyís love of Pandora all the more poignant.
THE EXTRAS
Oh boy, where do I even start? A few weeks ago, I reviewed THE SOUND OF MUSIC blu-ray, and mentioned that it was one of the most stacked blu-rayís Iíd ever seen. Well, AVATARís possibly even more jampacked with bonus features, putting to shame the bare-bones disc that came out in the spring.

Starting things off, we have three versions of the film on disc one, including the theatrical, directorís cut, and extended versions. Moving on to disc two, thereís an additional 45 minutes worth of deleted scenes plus the 15 extra minutes added to the film, so over an hour in total. All the footage is in HD, but the quality varies from perfect, to incomplete, to rough animatics.

Next up, Capturing Avatar , and ninety minute documentary by Laurent Bouzerault. DVD aficionados will immediately recognize that name, as heís one of the top DVD producers currently working. A Message From Pandora is a twenty minute piece on the environmental undertones in the film. Past that, we get another ninety minutes of Production Materials including screen tests, raw footage from the set, VFX tests, etc.

Onto Disc 3, where we get an hourís worth of Scene Deconstructions , which are interactive, and multi-angled. Up next are well over an hourís worth of Production Featurettes , The AVATAR archives featuring trailers, the screenplay, etc. The Art of AVATAR which contains hundreds of high-def artwork from the film. And, for those equipped with BD LIVE, thereís a lot more downloadable features, including more screentests, rehearsal footage, etc.

Overall a ridiculously stacked package.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Suffice to say, AVATAR is a good film (I gave it a 7/10 in my original review, which is hardly a pan), but- to me anyways, not quite a great one- although the DC helps itís case somewhat. Still, that's just my opinion, and obviously a lot of people disagree with me, which is fine. It would be boring if people always agreed on every film, and I respect the fact that to many (or most people it seems), AVATAR is a masterpiece. I respectfully disagree- but that doesn't mean it's not still pretty damn good.
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10:28AM on 12/02/2010
I got dragged to see Avatar by a friend opening weekend and wasn't really expecting much. We didn't even see the 3D version and I was blown away. Yeah, the story is a rehash but it's one of the best damn rehashes I've ever seen. 9.5/10
I got dragged to see Avatar by a friend opening weekend and wasn't really expecting much. We didn't even see the 3D version and I was blown away. Yeah, the story is a rehash but it's one of the best damn rehashes I've ever seen. 9.5/10
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9:38AM on 12/02/2010

Nice review!

You're not alone. I was pretty underwhelmed by Avatar's story upon first viewing but have really come to appreciate how immersive the film really is. Pandora is one of the richest worlds ever created and the longer cuts make it even moe fulfilling. Oh, and just for your info, Worthington's character's name is Sully, not Scully. This aint The X-Files bro.
You're not alone. I was pretty underwhelmed by Avatar's story upon first viewing but have really come to appreciate how immersive the film really is. Pandora is one of the richest worlds ever created and the longer cuts make it even moe fulfilling. Oh, and just for your info, Worthington's character's name is Sully, not Scully. This aint The X-Files bro.
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